Results tagged ‘ Yovani Gallardo ’

Awards season is here

fielder-braun.jpgIt’s awards season in Major League Baseball. Will any Brewers walk the red carpet?

The announcement of American League Gold Glove Award winners on Tuesday kick-starts a two-week run of honors that culminates Nov. 24 with the National League MVP. Here’s a rundown, and where the Brewers might fit:

Tuesday, Nov. 10 – AL Gold Gloves
Wednesday, Nov. 11 – NL Gold Gloves

The Brewers haven’t had a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner since Robin Yount won as a shortstop in 1982, but left fielder Ryan Braun figures to win a few before his career is over. Braun certainly made some mistakes in his second season as an outfielder but was charged with only two errors — his first two in two seasons since a move off third base. Braun rates low in the defensive statistical metrics, but because Gold Gloves almost always go to very good offensive players who happen to play solid defense — and not necessarily the game’s best defensive players — he’s got a chance.

Mike Cameron should also be in the mix after another season running down baseballs in center field. Cameron is a three-time Gold Glover, last in 2006 with the Padres.

I think Fielder deserves a mention here as well, because he made tremendous strides in 2009 while working endlessly with infield coach Willie Randolph. He still doesn’t have the reach of, say, Chicago’s Derrek Lee or reigning NL Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres, but Fielder improved dramatically at picking balls out of the dirt this season. Give Fielder credit for wanting to be an all-around player.

Thursday, Nov. 12 – Silver Sluggers
The award, given to a player at each position in each league, was first presented in 1980 and is determined by a vote of baseball’s managers and coaches. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network.

Prince Fielder
was the last to win a Silver Slugger Award, for his 50-homer season in 2007. Fielder put together an even better year in 2009, batting a career-best .299 with 46 home runs and 141 RBIs while playing all 162 games. He tied Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the NL RBI crown, but Howard is also a first baseman and will draw notice. So will Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who led baseball with 47 homers and a 1.101 OPS.

Braun probably has a better chance to win among NL left fielders. He ranked second to Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan with a .320 batting average, second to the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez with 32 RBIs and a .551 slugging percentage and led NL left fielders with 114 RBIs.

Monday, Nov. 16 – Rookie of the Year
Both the AL winner and the NL winner will be announced this day, at 1 p.m. CT. The Brewers pushed hard for third baseman Casey McGehee, who emerged from the waiver wire to be a major contributor to the team in 2009. McGehee started only one of the Brewers’ first 38 games, but finished with a .301 average, 16 home runs and 66 RBIs in 116 games. He led all Major League rookies in RBIs, including 27 over the final 31 games.

Unfortunately for McGehee, the NL had a number of impressive rookies in 2009. Florida’s Coghlan, Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen or utility man Garrett Jones, Philadelphia pitcher J.A. Happ and Atlanta pitcher Tommy Hanson are among them.

Tuesday, Nov. 17 – AL Cy Young Award

Wednesday, Nov. 18 – Manager of the Year
Like the rookie honor, a manager from each league will be honored at 1 p.m. CT. Brewers skipper Ken Macha isn’t a candidate after his team went 80-82 and finished third in the NL Central. Macha will have to settle to returning to the manager’s office for a second season.

Thursday, Nov.19 – NL Cy Young Award
Pitchers from non-playoff teams who tied for the worst starters’ ERA in baseball don’t win Cy Youngs, so Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo is out. He did have a nice bounce-back year after missing most of 2008 with a knee injury, becoming the fourth Brewers pitcher ever to cross the 200-strikeout plateau. Catcher Jason Kendall predicted that Gallardo will win multiple Cy Young Awards before his career is over.

Monday, Nov. 23 – AL MVP

Tuesday, Nov. 24 – NL MVP
Minus Pujols’ season for the ages, Fielder would be a strong candidate to be the Brewers’ first league MVP since Yount in 1989. But with Pujols considered the clear frontrunner for the award, Fielder may have to settle for a runner-up finish. Fielder finished third in MVP balloting in 2007. Braun, who finished third in MVP balloting in 2008, will once again place in 2009.

Who are your picks for the major postseason awards? You can post your predictions in the comments.

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Bill James sees solid season for Gamel

Just got an e-mail from stat guru Bill James‘ publisher and thought I would pass it along. It includes a positive prognostication for Mat Gamel — if he plays — but not so much for Rickie Weeks. Another 200-strikeout season for right-hander Yovani Gallardo but only 12 wins, and another struggle for lefty Manny Parra.

They key “if” in these projections is playing time. For example, the release offers projections for Gamel, Weeks and Casey McGehee assuming at least 425 at-bats for each, but it’s difficult to envision that scenario. James explains in his quote below.

Here’s the text:

In the recently-released Bill James Handbook 2010, baseball guru Bill James projects the 2010 seasons for players on the Milwaukee Brewers — and predicts a potentially solid year from third baseman Mat Gamel.

“In any season, the vast majority of players play in a manner that seems a natural extension of what they had done before,” James says in his new book. “When that happens, our projection should be reasonably accurate.”

Although he’s been in the projection business for almost twenty years, one thing James has no control over is playing time. “It is always my argument that we have no chance of figuring out, in October 2009, who will get playing time in 2010,” James says. “But what we should do is try to answer this question: If this player plays, how will he play?”

With this in mind, here are the five key Milwaukee hitters for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Hitters (by OPS)
Player                   At-bats     R     HR    RBI     SB     Avg.    OPS
Ryan Braun             615     112     39    119      17     .315    .972
Prince Fielder          601     103     44    124       3      .286    .967
Mat Gamel              455      65      17     73       3      .277    .817
Rickie Weeks          425      80      16     48      14     .259    .807
Casey McGehee      492      63      15     76       0      .272    .757

Projecting stats for pitchers is very different from projecting offensive stats for hitters. “We used to believe that pitching performance was much, much less predictable than batter performance,” James says. “This is probably still true…due to injuries and other factors. Sometimes a pitcher gets hurt, and when that happens our projections for him are knocked into a cocked hat.”

Here are the three key Milwaukee pitchers for 2010, according to the new Bill James Handbook 2010:

Key Brewers Pitchers (by ERA)
Player                       IP     W    L     K      SV    ERA
Trevor Hoffman         63     4     3     57     39     2.43
Yovani Gallardo       186    12    8     205     0     3.53
Manny Parra           147     7     9     130     0     4.59

The complete projections for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers can be found in the Bill James Handbook 2010.

For further information on the Bill James Handbook 2010 go to www.actasports.com.

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It's official: Brewers are out

No one in a Brewers uniform had seriously discussed the postseason since the team’s trip to Pittsburgh from Aug. 17-19, when pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Carlos Villanueva said separately that the team still had a chance. The Brewers were nine games back in the National League Central entering that series, but all they needed was a history-making hot streak, like the Rockies put together in 2007 to charge into the postseason and ultimately to the World Series. 

Instead, the Pirates swept, and the fate that had loomed over the Brewers for weeks finally became reality late Tuesday night. Milwaukee won’t be repeating as a playoff team. 

The Brewers were officially eliminated about 90 minutes after their 7-2 loss to the Cubs at Miller Park, when the Rockies endured a four-run Padres ninth inning but closed out an 11-10 win in Denver. It left the Brewers 12 games back in the NL Wild Card race with only 11 games to play. 

“It’s a letdown, just because [last year] was so much fun,” said first baseman Prince Fielder, who is having one of the best seasons in Brewers history but would trade it for another postseason ticket. “It’s a good experience to feel what that feels like. It makes you, every year, want to go out and play hard.” 

Now they’ll be relegated to spoilers over the last days of the season. After finishing their series against the Cubs on Wednesday, the Brewers face a trio of contenders in the Phillies, Rockies and Cardinals to end the season. The Cardinals will likely have clinched the NL Central long before the Brewers get to St. Louis. 

“It’s unfortunate,” Fielder said. “All we can do is play the last games and see what happens. If we’re out of it, that’s fine, but we get paid to play hard. We’re going to do that, regardless.” 

The Brewers reported to Spring Training on the heels of their best season since losing Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. Bolstered down the stretch by sensational starter CC Sabathia, the Brewers won the NL Wild Card on the final day of the regular season before falling to the eventual World Champion Phillies in the Division Series. 

It was a significant step forward for the Brewers, especially since they returned all eight of their positional starters for 2009 and four of their five starting pitchers including Yovani Gallardo, who had missed almost all of 2008 with a knee injury.

Yet most of the focus was on two pitchers who left via free agency. The Brewers made an offer to Sabathia that would have more than doubled the richest contract in franchise history, but he instead took an even richer megadeal from the Yankees. Ben Sheets, the longest-tenured Brewer, was poised to sign with the Rangers when he failed a physical and needed surgery that would cost him the entire year.

Still, the Brewers thought they had enough, and as late as July 4 they led the NL Central. But midseason injuries to Dave Bush (triceps) and Jeff Suppan (rib cage) taxed the team’s pitching depth and sent them on a downward spiral. 

“We were depleted in the pitching for two months,” said first-year Brewers manager Ken Macha. “That kind of pushes you out of there.”
 
ap-cubs-brewers-baseballa(3).jpgBush, the pitcher of record in the Brewers’ only NLDS win last year, took the loss in Tuesday’s elimination game. He was tagged for five earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in his shortest start this year.

“I can obviously speak for myself and for the team as a whole, it’s been disappointing,” Bush said. “We had hoped to be better this year. You don’t always know why it happens, but everybody in this room came into Spring Training confident that we had the team to be more successful than we’ve been.” 

It came down to the pitching. 

“Yeah,” Bush shrugged. “We definitely haven’t pitched as well as we wanted to. I remember saying back in the spring that instead of trying to make up for the guys that we lost, we all had to try to do a little bit better. No one in particular was going to have to be incredible. 

“It’s happened at times, but over the course of the season, speaking in particular for myself, it hasn’t been nearly as consistent as we need it to be. We started off well, and had some good stretches here and there, but we didn’t have nearly a good enough season.” 

The offense couldn’t overcome the team’s deficient pitching, and down years for shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder Corey Hart didn’t help. The bright spot has been Fielder, who belted his 41st home run on Tuesday and was tied with the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols for the NL RBI title. 

Fielder has already set franchise records for RBIs and walks, but he would rather be winning. 

“It’s all about winning,” Fielder said. “We’ll try as a team to figure out how we can get back to where we were. We have to finish the season strong and try to win as many games as we can. By the time the season’s over, we can at least go home with a good taste in our mouths.”

Healthy Parra to start on Friday

Manny Parra is healthy again, and he’s returning to the Brewers’ starting rotation.

Parra, who hasn’t pitched since exiting a Sept. 8 outing against the Cardinals after one inning because of a stiff neck, is slated to start Friday against the Phillies. The left-hander will take the spot vacated by Yovani Gallardo, who was shut down by the Brewers as a precaution against overwork.

“I’m excited,” Parra said. “It’s not so much relief, because I knew [the neck] was going to get better, although for a minute there I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I almost feel re-energized. I feel real fresh, and hopefully I’ll finish strong.”

Assuming he gets through Friday’s game without a setback, Parra would be in line for one more start on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 in Colorado, depending on how manager Ken Macha chooses to use Monday’s off day.

Parra is 10-10 this season despite a 6.42 ERA, the highest ERA in the National League for a pitcher with at least 80 innings of work. His season included a three-week demotion to Triple-A Nashville.

“I want to finish off strong because I know I’m better than I’ve pitched this year,” Parra said.

First, he had to get healthy. Parra didn’t think he would miss his next start after exiting early against the Cardinals, but fellow left-hander Chris Narveson will make a third start in Parra’s place on Wednesday against the Cubs. When Parra’s neck stiffness didn’t subside, the Brewers sent him home from a road trip last week for an MRI scan seeking answers.

It didn’t reveal any, but Parra noticed dramatic improvement beginning Friday, when the Brewers returned to Miller Park for their final homestand. By Tuesday, when Parra threw his final side session in preparation for his start against the Phillies, he was “100 percent healthy.” He even took batting practice with the rest of the starters.

“It’s completely out of my mind,” he said.

Will two starts be enough for Parra to feel good entering the offseason?

“I hope so,” Macha said. “I’m just glad that he’s able to come back to pitch.”

Parra’s status may prompt the Brewers to send righty prospect Josh Butler home early. Butler made his Major League debut in relief on Tuesday night and was a candidate to take Gallardo’s spot in the rotation, but instead he may depart when the Brewers finish their homestand on Sunday. That would give Butler a healthy break before he reports for duty in the Arizona Fall League.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he would make sure Parra made it through Friday’s outing before making a decision about Butler. 

Gallardo anxious for "ace" role in 2010

After a fine finale to his 2009 season, Yovani Gallardo said he was looking forward to serving as the Brewers’ bona fide ace next season.

“I’ll be able to accept that role,” he said after pitching five innings of Milwaukee’s 6-0 win over the Astros on Sunday. “I go out there and give my team all I’ve got every start and I feel I
have that kind of stuff. Obviously, there’s little things I
need to work on, which will only make me better. To be in a role like
that at my age, it shows what the organization thinks of me.”

After a disappointing at Wrigley Field last week the Brewers granted him one more limited start, a move to protect the 23-year-old from a huge spike in workload this year. He delivered a quality finale, tossing five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, becoming the fourth pitcher in Brewers history to pass the 200-strikeout barrier.

Gallardo finished 13-12 with a 3.73 ERA in 30 starts and 185 2/3 innings.

“Going out there, I knew it was the last start and I was going to go at the most five innings,” Gallardo said. “It’s tough, but to end on a good note is always good. We got a win and I finished the year strong.”

Gallardo caught Astros pitcher Felipe Paulino looking at a fastball in the second inning for his third strikeout of the game and his 200th of the season. He struck out Michael Bourn for the second time to end the inning, and a sleepy crowd of 30,024 acknowledged Gallardo’s achievement when it appeared on the scoreboard. 

He finished the season with 204 strikeouts to join Ben Sheets (who set a franchise record with 264 strikeouts in 2004), Teddy Higuera (who notched a pair of 200-strikeout seasons) and Doug Davis as the only pitchers in club history to break 200. 

“It’s important to me,” Gallardo said. “I’m sure every guy in here has goals, whether that’s hitting .300 or getting 20 wins or 200 strikeouts. With not being able to pitch last year, being able to achieve [the strikeout milestone] is a big jump for me. Getting numbers like that, it helps you be more confident and prepared for next year.” 

Gallardo will remain with the team for the rest of the year to throw side sessions. Presumably, he’ll make his next “real” start for the Brewers when they open the 2010 season at home against Colorado. 

Brewers manager Ken Macha didn’t think Gallardo was ready for the Opening Day honor earlier this year. Now, he thinks he’s ready for that step. 

“He’s done some very good things,” Macha said. “But there are some things that need to get worked out with him if he’s going to reach the potential that he does have. The stuff is there — he’s got No. 1 starter stuff — but the command is not always there, he struggles with his release point and he’s leading the league in walks.

“So there are things that can be ironed out. When your No. 1 starter walks out of that bullpen it’s kind of like guys take the rest of the day off. [Gallardo] is not there yet, but after missing almost all of last year, he’s thrown the ball very well.”

Sunday to be Gallardo's season finale

Thanks to MLB.com contributor J.R. Radcliffe, who is covering the Brewers tonight in my wake, for passing along this note:

Yovani Gallardo will pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday in what will serve as his final outing of the 2009 season.

Manager Ken Macha had been toying with several methods of limiting the young right-hander’s workload with his team out of the pennant race, and his status for Sunday’s scheduled outing remained in doubt until Friday.

“We’ve got a pitch count in mind,” Macha said. “If there’s two outs in the fourth inning and we happen to have a lead, I won’t take him out. There’s a number we have in mind, but it can be adjusted.”

Macha said he weighed Gallardo’s input on the matter, making it a “group decision.”

The skipper also dismissed the notion that Gallardo’s proximity to the 200-strikeout plateau played a role. The 23-year-old needs just three punchouts Sunday to become just the fourth Brewers pitcher to reach that mark — a list that includes Gallardo’s fellow Mexican countryman Teddy Higuera, who accomplished the feat twice.

“I’m not an individual-stat guy,” Macha said. “He’s also leading the league in walks. … When you’re leading the league in walks, you have to get your command down and be consistent with your pitches. … He’s got the stuff, no question about it. Command of the ball is his biggest thing. It’s why we’re shutting him down. One-hundred pitches in five innings every time out there.”

Macha said Gallardo would throw light side sessions to finish out the year.

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Burns to be in uniform tonight

144241_astros_brewers_baseball.jpgAs assistant GM Gord Ash promised earlier this week, the Brewers recalled right-hander Mike Burns last night and will have him in the bullpen for tonight’s series opener against the Astros. Burns arrives as insurance for both Manny Parra, who remains indefinitely sidelined by a neck injury, and Yovani Gallardo, whose status should become more clear later today. Gallardo is completely healthy, as far as we know, but Brewers officials are once again exploring ways to limit his innings.

Burns was 3-5 with a 6.10 ERA in eight starts and five relief appearances during his earlier stints with the Brewers. In his 14 starts at Triple-A Nashville, he was 8-3 with a 2.62 ERA. He last pitched in Nashville’s season finale and went the distance, allowing 10 hits but only two runs with eight strikeouts in his second complete game of the year.

That game was on Sept. 7. Since then, Burns had packed up in Nashville and made the long drive home to Southern California for the winter. Turns out his season wasn’t quite over.

Coaches, Gallardo meet

Thumbnail image for 007688b4-911c-11de-96f9-001cc4c03286.image.jpgPrized right-hander Yovani Gallardo met with a trio of Brewers coaches on Thursday morning to discuss his schedule for the final two weeks of the season but the plan will remain a mystery until Friday. Gallardo would prefer to keep pitching, but said he’s open to the idea of calling it a season.

“I don’t think anybody is very excited when it comes down to being shut down,” he said. “But, the other thing you have to look at is that they might be doing things to protect you as a player.

“You have to see both sides, what’s best for the organization and what’s best for the player. That’s the way that I feel.”

If he stays on schedule, Gallardo would start Sunday against the Astros at Miller Park, and indeed he threw his usual between-starts bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Thursday morning. But recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler also threw in the bullpen, and was told to be ready to pitch in some capacity on Sunday.

“Hopefully, I’m able to go,” Gallardo said. “I say ‘hopefully’ because we only had a plan through Tuesday [when Gallardo returned after nine days off and lost to the Cubs] and then we were going to go day-by-day. But I just got done throwing a bullpen, and that’s a good thing. .. At this point, I’m starting Sunday.”

His meeting was with manager Ken Macha, pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Stan Kyles. General manager Doug Melvin is also in Chicago and wanted to chat with Gallardo in person, but as of late Thursday morning, that sit-down had not happened.

Until it did, Macha wasn’t willing to reveal his intentions.

“Let’s let him talk to Doug,” Macha said. “We kind of has an extended conversation with Doug [on Wednesday] about ‘Yo’s’ status and we’ll let you know completely [on Friday] what’s happening. I think we’re on the same page, but before we stick it in print, let’s let everybody feel good about their conversations.”

Perhaps it’s not an either-or proposal between Gallardo and Butler. The Brewers could decide to start Gallardo on Sunday — Melvin’s bobblehead day — but hold him to a limited pitch count before turning to Butler.

In that scenario, Gallardo would have a chance to notch the three strikeouts he needs for 200. Only three other Brewers pitchers have reached that milestone including Gallardo’s Mexican countryman Teddy Higuera, who did it twice.

“That’s a good mark to get to,” Gallardo said. “But like I said, it comes down to the same thing. Staying healthy is the No. 1 thing, winning games is second and then everything else is after that. Hopefully I’m able to get there. If not, hopefully further on in my career I get that opportunity. Hopefully there will be a lot more opportunities. “

Butler, meanwhile, would be making his Major League debut. The Brewers acquired him last April from the Rays for outfielder Gabe Gross, and he put up a 2.97 ERA at four Milwaukee affiliates this season.

“I just want to get it over with. I want to get out there for the first time,” he said. “I talked to [fellow call-up John] Axford about it and he said he was more nervous during his nine days sitting there than when he actually got up and into a game. When he got into the game, it was all the same, and now he’s not as nervous anymore.

“Right now, it looks like ‘Yo’ is going to start, but that might change. I’m ready, whatever the plans are.”

What to do with Gallardo?

Dave Bush will take the mound for the Brewers on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series at Wrigley Field. After that, Milwaukee’s starting rotation appears set for some changes.

The Brewers are re-visiting the idea of shutting-down right-hander Yovani Gallardo for the season, and left-hander Manny Parra remains sidelined indefinitely with a stiff neck. Chris Narveson will make a second straight start in Parra’s place on Friday, and recently-promoted prospect Josh Butler appears a strong candidate to make at least one start if the Brewers make a move with Gallardo.

“There’s a possibility there will be some jumbling, yeah,” manager Ken Macha said.

The most notable jumble would involve Gallardo, who complained of rust Tuesday night after waiting nine days between starts. It was a move by Brewers officials to limit the workload of a pitcher who missed all but four regular-season starts in 2008 because of a knee injury and has piled up innings — 180 2/3, most on the team — and pitches — 3,125, fifth-most in the National League — in 2009.

If he stays on a regular schedule, Gallardo would make three more starts this year. Now there is a chance he is done.

“Yes, we are discussing it and working our way through it,” Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “[Pitching coach Chris] Bosio and Ken will get their heads together and see what they want to do.”

Macha wouldn’t reveal his thinking on Wednesday.

The Brewers are also soliciting input from Gallardo’s agent, former Major League right-hander Bobby Witt, to “demonstrate that you have the long-term health of the player in mind,” Ash said. The Brewers’ medical staff will submit information to Witt and so will the team’s statistical gurus, in an effort to demonstrate that taking away Gallardo’s final three 2009 starts would not have significant implications for his bottom line in future seasons. Gallardo projects to be arbitration-eligible following next season.

“It’s not about money,” general manager Doug Melvin said. “If we were worried about money we wouldn’t have nine extra guys here with the team out of the pennant race.” 

Melvin was not interested in saying much more about Gallardo’s immediate future.

“If you’re going to do anything, you talk to the player first. We haven’t talked to him yet,” Melvin said. “We’re not addressing it today. We’ll let you know if we do. But if we do it, we would talk to him first.”

The decision would probably not be popular with Gallardo. He met with Macha, Melvin and Ash earlier this month and went along with a plan to skip one start while making it clear he wanted to play out the season.

“I don’t want to be shut down. I want to finish out the year strong,” Gallardo said. “We’re trying to find ways to make that happen.”
 
Were he to remain on schedule, Gallardo’s next start would come Sunday against the Astros. For now, the Brewers aren’t naming a probable pitcher for that date but it could be 24-year-old Butler, one of the team’s most promising pitching prospects. 

Asked whether Butler could start a game, Macha said, “That may happen. He hasn’t pitched in eight days, so we’re going to give him a couple of ‘sides’ here. … We’ve had some discussion of what to do. It will all become clearer as the days go on. It’s not etched in stone yet what we’re going to do.”

Braun, Gallardo back in action

Ryan Braun is back in the lineup after getting most of Monday off and Yovani Gallardo is back in the rotation after seeing his last turn skipped. It’s a move to protect Gallardo from a sudden spike in workload this season after he missed most if 2008 with a knee injury suffered right here at Wrigley Field.

It was calm on Chicago’s North Side last night, but at least for now the wind is blowing in from left field at quite a clip. Gallardo probably hopes it stays that way.

Felipe Lopez  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Mike Cameron  CF
Jason Kendall  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP

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